Patient Comments: Osteomyelitis - Diagnosis

Question:

How was your osteomyelitis diagnosed? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Student01, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 30

I have osteomyelitis of the cervical spine. I contracted the infection from the operating room while I was having a posterior cervical fusion. My osteomyelitis diagnosis was easy. Waking up a full month after my operation I found my pillow soaked in pus (infection pus). The infection had tunneled out of me. The hole was about half the size of a pencil. I went to the doctor for an office visit but was taken into the operation room. They took a bone sample (that is how the diagnosis was made). I was heavily debrided but about 10 days later I was back in for more debridements.

Comment from: oldlady, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: January 10

I'm 84 years old and 6 months ago I fell off my bike and skinned my knee. No big deal, I thought. We were on vacation in Colorado and my two granddaughters urged me to go swimming with them in a public pool about 3 days after the accident. I looked at my wound and it seemed to be scabbed over so I went. The next day my knee swelled up and I couldn't bend it. We got home a few days later and I saw my regular doctor and he insisted I go to the hospital immediately as my whole leg was swollen. With the treatment the osteomyelitis seemed to get better and I went home with antibiotics to take. Then it got worse and I went back and started a different antibiotic. Eventually he took a culture and changed the antibiotic once again. I took it for 6 weeks and it was still there so I had a PICC line installed and had that for 6 weeks but my white blood count went down to a dangerous level. Now I am off everything and have no pain or loss of movement but just little sensations in my knee where the infection was. I've just had a blood test and MRI and don't know the results yet but I think I'm cured. Long involved process. Never go in a public pool with a skin wound even if it looks okay!

Comment from: KBehr, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 08

I had been in and out of our city hospital because of heart problems. On each occasion, I suffered more and more pain in my lower back and hips. The doctor asked me about my back and I told him I had suffered with back problems for 25 years. Well, he said maybe it was this bed and they will get me an extension. I had been taking 10 mg methadone 3 a day for several years and always found it to be a terrific pain medicine. The hospital pain doctor visited and told me I was on too much medication. The fourth admission happened with a 104.5 temperature, heavy vomiting and delirium. The hospitalist called in the infection doctor who, after 1 day, concluded I had osteomyelitis and discitis and I have been on antibiotics and not quite enough pain medicine since that time. In fact, 4 days after discharge, I was back in the hospital specifically to somehow moderate the pain; a 10 day process! I have been told by other doctor friends (I am a psychologist who works in the medical arena), and everyone, but the treating doctor thinks that since it seems the pain from the infection began 6 months before diagnosis, and since the E-coli has settled deeply into my spine, I could be in for a lifetime of related problems. And on it goes.

Comment from: 123terry, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 11

My bone infection (osteomyelitis) was discovered during a hip replacement surgery. The infection was caused by streptococcus bacteria. Some bone and tissue were removed, and a spacer filled with bone cement and antibiotics were attached at the pelvic bone with 2 screws. The antibiotics did not do the job. Right now I am looking at the same procedure again with a new spacer again. I am not sure about going down this road again.

Comment from: Nancy S, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 11

I was waiting on the steps for my mother to pick me up from school a few days before my 11th birthday. When I got up to walk to the car, my ankle hurt and so I limped a little. My mother noticed and when it didn't get any better, she took me to my pediatrician a day or two later. He questioned me closely and (thank goodness) believed me when I said I had not injured it in any way, it just started hurting out of the blue. He had me take off my shoes and socks on both feet, which I didn't understand. He placed his palm on the painful, mildly swollen ankle, then on the other one, back and forth. He then told me he was checking me into the hospital that night! Blood tests were done at the hospital and osteomyelitis confirmed. I was put on a penicillin IV, which I was kept on until I developed an allergy; I was switched to something else for the remainder of the four weeks I spent in the hospital. Near the end, he called in a specialist to see if I could be released after four weeks instead of the usual six. They confirmed that my doctor had caught it so quickly that the infection had been successfully treated in the shorter time. He told us that he had remembered reading an article in a medical journal that said osteomyelitis was being underdiagnosed. It looked like a sprain and patients and doctors alike were ignoring or mistaking it, with serious consequences. When he felt each ankle, he had been looking for increased warmth in the swollen ankle, a sign of infection that a sprain wouldn't have. I have always been impressed and grateful. Thank you, doctor.

Comment from: PCCstudent, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 13

I was an auto mechanic for 35 plus years, the job was hard on my body. I went to the doctor with shoulder pain that turned into major age related wear issues in my neck. I needed both anterior and posterior cervical fusions. One month (almost to the day) later I experienced tunneling at my rear incision site. The hole was half the size of a pencil and produced major amounts of pus. We did not even try medications, I was in surgery the day after I first informed my surgeon of the wound tunneling. The debridement was conservative and included a bone specimen. I showed up at an infectious wound doctor’s office about 7 days after they had the specimen looked at by the lab. She asked many, many questions, finally she told me that she had never before seen this in her career (she is well thought of in her field), I had vertebral osteomyelitis, I had no idea what this was going to mean.

IMAGES

Osteomyelitis See pictures of Bacterial Skin Conditions See Images
Comment from: Kar, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 16

I have lupus along with other immune problems since 2006, I hit my big toe on the edge of my bed and fractured my toe. Several months went by and toe got red, inflamed, and painful. They took toe nail off, 2 days after that the middle of toe blew up, white pus, so painful I couldn't walk, pain medication didn't even help! After 8 or 9 months found out I had osteomyelitis, infection spread through my body fast and I was so sick in hospital a week. I was sent home with IV antibiotics for 8 weeks which didn't work, so I'm trying hyperbaric chamber, and I'm hoping this works because I do not want my toe removed! So Look into hyperbaric chamber.

SLIDESHOW

Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments See Slideshow